Your existence as a Newcastle United supporter can never be described as normal but certainly this season is already turning a lot of expectations on their head.
A summer of angst and conflict as Mike Ashley and his minions bizarrely conspired in attempts to undermine the manager, has been followed by three defeats and then a trio of uplifting Premier League wins.
Nothing achieved yet but…doesn’t it feel good.
For me, the best thing about the three wins on the bounce is that the team have improved with each game, it might have been a three goal margin against West Ham but the next two victories have been much better and yesterday deserved a three or four goal win, against a team that arrived in very good shape.
We have all been impressed by Matt Ritchie’s energetic and productive start, Jamaal Lascelles bouncing back with a couple of match winners, and Ciaran Clark seamlessly stepping back up to the Premier League – but there is one player who is really making Newcastle tick.
Step forward Mikel Merino.
The win against Stoke was only the 21 year old’s sixth start in the top tier of any country, two for Borussia Dortmund and now four and counting for Newcastle.
NUFC fans already frantically counting down to the rumoured 20 game mark that would trigger an automatic permanent deal for the young playmaker.
I’m sure his form will dip at some point but Mikel Merino is quite clearly a quality classy player.
He might not play as far forward as David Silva but I think his cool head and excellent passing game show many of the same attributes.
It feels strange saying this about a player who isn’t even properly ours yet – but I am already worried about losing Merino.
In the Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby days, you never worried about either manager failing to keep his best players, the exception being when Jonathan Woodgate was tempted away to Real Madrid.
However, life under Mike Ashley has been a decade of worry once any player showed he might be a cut above.
The likes of Carroll, Cabaye and Ba all rumoured to be on their way, before the actual event happened.
I have little doubt that at some point in his career, Mikel Merino will be sold by somebody for £50m or more, in fact with the way things are going and the likes of empty headed right-back Kyle Walker going for around that amount, who knows what fees will be paid in the coming years.
Like all very good players, Mikel Merino always manages to find time on the ball.
Always moving, always able to shift the ball and keep possession, clever little tricks that fool the opponent, the loan player is already running Newcastle United’s midfield.
Even before the win over Stoke and Newcastle climbing to the heady heights of top four after five matches, Merino was already getting the attention of pundits/experts in a positive way, as opposed to idiots like Graeme Souness who was prepared to destroy the young Spaniard based on one mistake in his first ever Premier League start (at Huddersfield).
First step of course is to make sure this season is a success and a permanent deal for Mikel Merino is concluded.
Then we have the more difficult task of Rafa Benitez getting the backing to make Newcastle United as good as they possibly can be, with somebody like Merino looking capable of being a real leader in that.
We have already seem real missed opportunities at Newcastle under Mike Ashley, Keegan’s return as manager and the breakthrough fifth finish in 2011/12 being the main two.
It would be criminal if the same happens with Rafa Benitez and the players he has been able to attract and inspire, despite having to operate on relative buttons in the transfer market.
Here’s hoping. In Rafa we trust but it is the rest of them we have to worry about.